Slip and fall accidents account for so many workplace-related injuries. Depending on factors such as the nature of the accident as well as the surroundings, victims of slip-and-fall accidents may sustain anything from mild bruises or scratches to severe injuries to the head and spinal cord. While wet and uneven surfaces have been cited as the common causes of slip and fall accidents, it’s rather unfortunate that it’s a direct result of negligence, not forgetting that a vast majority of these accidents are preventable.
But then again, even in the worst-case scenario, practicing safety procedures regularly proves that it’s easy to prevent even the worst of slip and fall incidents. While victims of these accidents are entitled to compensation for the economic, physical, and emotional pain and suffering that results from such accidents, there has to be substantial evidence of negligence or liability for them to prove their case and have their claims processed. So what exactly is the importance of liability in slip and fall injury claims? The following pointers will help us decipher this.
What’s Premises Liability?
This is a legal term that you will on many occasions hear in slip and fall cases. Premise liability refers to holding a property owner accountable for damages or injuries sustained while on their property. This is a concept that comes into play in slip and fall injury cases due to the negligence of the property owner. More often than not, various aspects such as defective construction, inadequate lighting, and defective repairs will help to validate slip and fall injury claims. In slip and fall injury claims that proceed to court, your attorney will need to prove three main things, which are:
- Liability – in this case, the attorney will have to prove to the court that the defendant was indeed in violation of both civil and criminal laws based on negligence and damages. In a nutshell, it’s important to prove that the defendant breached their duty of care to an individual/s legally on the property.
- Negligence – it’s important for the attorney to prove without reasonable doubt that the defendant’s failure to act contributed to great extents towards the accident. For the attorney to prove negligence, they must also prove that the defendant, though aware of the existence of various hazards on their premises, did not act prudently towards preventing the slip and fall accident.
- Fault – the attorney needs to prove that the accident was caused by the defendant’s actions or behaviors.
Much as slipping and falling on someone’s property warrants for a legal claim, the validity of claims is mostly dependent on the circumstances under which the accident or injury took place. If you or someone you know has been injured in a slip and fall accident due to the negligence of the property owner, the law provides an avenue through which you/they can be compensated. But no doubt, the intricate process of filing for a slip and fall injury claim will require that you seek legal counsel. Michael E. Ellery from Console & Associates, says that the best thing you can do when filing a slip-and-fall claim is to hire an attorney that understands the mindset of insurance adjusters and defense attorneys. As you focus on getting better, they can help pursue your claim from the insurance company and even represent you in court if it ever comes to that. They’ll do their investigations and gather enough evidence to prove fault and determine liability. On this note, the following pointers seek to provide more on the importance of liability in slip and fall injury claims.
1. Helps To Prepare Your Case
Typically, receiving treatment after a slip and fall injury will be the icebreaker in kicking off your case. Some people will hesitate in receiving treatment after such an incident, but it’s vital because injuries associated with slip and fall accidents may often involve the head and limbs. It may initially not seem like a medical emergency, but receiving immediate medical evaluation will help to determine the severity of your injuries. Depending on the extent and severity of the injuries, it becomes easier to prove that your slip and fall incident stemmed from negligence. With documented proof on a medical report from a competent medical practitioner and the backing of an experienced personal injury attorney, you’ll have the right tools to file a lawsuit.
2. Determines How The Case Is Settled
The law is clear on how to go about filing a slip and fall injury claim. As the plaintiff, you need to provide substantial evidence against the defendant, showing that without reasonable doubt, you sustained serious injuries as a result of the defendant’s negligence. To your surprise, it doesn’t end there. A series of investigations to help document the scene will follow. There’ll be an inquisition on witness information, surveillance inspections, and analysis of your sworn statements.
As you can see, it’s a long process that aims at proving liability. The robust evidence provided will help to determine the strength of your case. In addition to this, it will also determine how your case is settled. Many slip and fall cases settle without going to trial. One thing to note is that there will be a prima facie case stage to determine whether the case will be fully tried. The defendant, depending on the plaintiff’s evidence, may opt to settle the case outside court. While this is the case, your attorney will need to outsmart the insurance adjusters to land you the best settlement.
3. Determines The Value Of The Settlement
In tort law, if the court issues a judgment in favor of the plaintiff, the defendant will have no choice but to obey whatever is ordered by the court, unless they’d wish to appeal. Fortunately, most slip and fall cases settle out of court and in most cases, before the lawsuit is filed. However, proving liability will help to increase your chances of landing on the best settlement. As earlier mentioned in the previous paragraph, you may have to deal with insurance adjusters who’ll do anything to reduce your claim or ultimately deny it. Various aspects such as medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost income prior and after a slip and fall accident may affect the settlement amount. One thing to note, however, is that liability is easier to prove, especially if the circumstances leading to the accident were occasioned by the defendant. The defendant may not contend against paying due settlement for the damages and injuries sustained.
Now, due to the complex nature of slip and fall cases, it’s imperative to hire an experienced attorney before filing an injury claim. Any attempt to handle the claim will substantially increase your risk of losing the case. Remember, the possibility of getting fair compensation for a slip-and-fall will depend on how well you or your attorney can prove liability.